Film Review: ‘Woman In Gold’

Hostiles Story: Set in 1892, Army Captain Joseph Blocker reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief Yellow Hawk and his family back home through dangerous territory.

Hostiles Review: The film tracks a group’s journey, led by Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), across the unforgiving and lawless terrains of Americas in the 1800s, as they make their way back to the home of the dying Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) in Montana. On the way, they encounter a woman Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike) who is coming to terms with the harsh world of New Mexico at that time, especially at the hands of ruthless Comanche raiders. The emotional struggles of Captain Joseph Blocker and Rosalie Quaid are documented in the form of powerful and measured performances by Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike respectively. Christian Bale completely disappears into Blocker and his anger, pain, and weariness are palpable. Rosamund Pike is nuanced and layered as a woman recovering from severe trauma. Pike brings out Rosalie’s grief and strength in equal measure.

Wes Studi is known for playing powerful and stoic types with a stark and rugged visage that looks war-torn by default. His portrayal of Chief Yellow Hawk is fitting but you wish you got to know this character a little better. In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems with ‘Hostiles’. In a film about Native American suffering at the hands of White oppressors, the screenplay fails to give more insight into the oppressed, especially when they’re so wonderfully intriguing. Besides the gripping performances by Bale and Pike, the cinematography is gritty enough to draw you into this stark world. However, with the runtime going beyond the two-hour mark, there are some points when your interest might be challenged, and that’s unfortunate with this strong cast.

18th century America was a time when survival pretty much came down to kill, or be killed. ‘Hostiles’ captures this constant threat beautifully, with riveting moments of action and drama making it hard to predict who will make it out in the end. But amidst great performances and gorgeous cinematography, ‘Hostiles’ misses the mark by giving us just an overview of its real subject matter.

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